Posts Tagged menopause

Mistress of Menopause Workshop

Hi,
Have you, or anyone you know, totally had ENOUGH!! of menopause?
If the answer it YES, then this workshop is where you need to be. It will help you reclaim your life and by the end of the day you will feel refreshed, empowered and know how to truly be the Mistress of YOUR Menopause.

For more details – See the workshop postcard below and go to my website http://www.berrisnaturopath.com to view associated videos.

MofM flyer for WEBSITE 72p

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Menopausal? DON’T PANIC

Menopausal? – DON’T PANIC

Menopause – we all dread the thought of it, but in reality many of us know very little about it, until we are smack in the middle of a hot flush or a mood swing and then we panic that the best part of our life is over.

Instead of panicking, let’s get a grip and look at menopause from a different angle. Forget all the horror stories you have heard about menopause and what you have learnt from the previous generation. Times were different then. Topics such as menopause were not discussed openly (even with the family doctor!) and women carried the burden on their own, usually with absolutely no understanding of what was happening to them. No wonder many of them (and their families) had such a difficult time!

We baby boomers are lucky enough to have a very different life. Information on menopause and peri-menopause is everywhere and these days we can go into the menopausal years relatively well informed. Whereas our mothers’ generation waved handkerchiefs over their sweaty brows and bodies and cried about the loss of reproductive power, our generation is more likely to wrap our handkerchiefs around our foreheads and head off to the gym or the Zumba class.

An important fact to remember is that menopause is not a medical condition. It is a natural process in a woman’s life and instead of being viewed with trepidation, menopause can be approached with a sense of excitement and joy at the prospect of entering a new phase of life.

Menopause is defined as the end of your menstrual periods. For most women this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. For several years before the periods stop women experience the symptoms of peri-menopause, which is the time when the hormones start wildly fluctuating causing the periods become irregular and a multitude of symptoms to occur.

The most common symptoms are hot flushes (70% of women) and emotional changes including depression and mood swings (40% of women). Other symptoms include vaginal dryness, bladder irritability, reduced or no interest in sex, insomnia and fatigue. Sounds awful, doesn’t it!! Don’t despair, help is here!

Next time that you feel like Krakatoa getting ready to blow; that you feel puffy, flushed faced and damp, and everyone else looks slender and cool as a cucumber; or that you’re jotting your name down and you have to pause for a moment, to think what it is; you may decide it’s time to explore your options.

Natural medicines have a long history of being used to improve the transition through menopause into the next phase of life. There are many herbal medicines in particular, that are very effective in not only relieving the symptoms of menopause but also in managing the underlying cause of the symptoms, the hormonal fluctuations and depleted adrenal function.

Optimal health is important for the years surrounding menopause. This is especially true for the adrenal glands. These tiny walnut sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys play an essential role in managing the stress response, energy maintenance and in the production of sex hormones when the ovaries begin winding down production in the peri-menopausal years.

The one factor that damages the health of the adrenals more than anything else is stress! So, it is not surprising that many women approaching menopause have depleted adrenal function which in turn leads to more problems during menopause. An important factor about the use of natural medicines is that they can be tailored to suit each individual woman.

The common medical treatment for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Although HRT can alleviate the symptoms in many women it is often delaying the inevitable. Once HRT is discontinued the symptoms often return, sometimes with more severity. If you think about it, the symptoms of menopause are in response to lowering hormone levels and when HRT is stopped you are back to square one. It makes more sense to manage the symptoms, improve adrenal health and general health with natural medicines to ensure long-term freedom from symptoms and increased vitality and zest for life.

HRT is not without its problems. Long-term clinical trials have shown that extended use of HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, blood clots, hypertension and other medical conditions. If HRT is to be taken, it should be prescribed selectively and not taken indefinitely.

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Menopause – a new lease on life!

Menopause – Not the End but a Brand New Lease on Life

 

When we women hear the word ‘menopause’, we generally run and hide or simply sigh with acceptance. Most of us have heard so many terrible stories about menopause or perhaps we have observed family members going through ‘the change’ when we were younger.

Should the thought of Menopause strike fear into our hearts? Are the stories of hot flushes and out of control hormones true?

The good news is not all women experience menopausal symptoms. Those who do have symptoms will experience some or all of the following: night sweats, hot flushes, fatigue, irregular periods, emotional turmoil and insomnia. For these women the most common menopausal symptom, reported by approximately 70%, is hot flushes. Emotional changes are also very common with approximately 40% suffering  from depression.

The average age for women to reach menopause is 50-51yrs with most Australian women being between the ages of 45 and 55 years. Some women are diagnosed with menopause much earlier, perhaps in their 30’s or 40’s. From a holistic viewpoint, and certainly from my own clinical experience, such early menopause is often caused by adrenal fatigue contributing to premature ovarian failure. I have had a great deal of success in treating these women with herbs and nutrients that support the nervous system and the adrenals. In most cases normal menstruation can be re-established and all signs of menopause disappear.

Optimal adrenal health is fundamental for a smooth transition through menopause. In the years leading up to menopause the ovaries gradually reduce their production of female hormones until they stop completely. It is the adrenal glands that take over the role of hormone production at this time. So, the healthier your adrenals are going into menopause the easier it will be for you. One of the most significant factors that deplete adrenal functioning is stress, something that most of us have had a lot of by the time we get to our late 40s!

If you are trying to gauge when your own transition into menopause will end a long-term study called “The Melbourne Women’s Midlife Health Study” could help.  More than 400 Australian women were involved in this research which followed them over 10-15 years. One finding from the study was:  if you have had at least three months without a period, then your last period is likely to come within the following year.

Come out of hiding, there are ways to alleviate or potentially eliminate transitional menopausal symptoms. Say good bye to fatigue, insomnia, hot flushes and emotional ups and downs with the holistic approach offered by natural medicine, which has a very high success rate. Natural medicines can be used in conjunction with conventional medication or on their own.

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Want to Stop Using HRT?

by Berris Burgoyne – Naturopath – www.berrisnaturopath.com
Suite 8/1177 Logan Road, Holland Park, Brisbane 4121

Is it possible to stop HRT?
Yes it is definitely possible to stop taking HRT, however it is not a good idea to do so suddenly. We have had a lot of experience at helping women wean off HRT and the best way is to do so gradually. However, before making the decision to stop HRT, it is important to consider the reason that HRT was initially prescribed and how relevant it is to your long-term health and wellbeing.

It is important to understand that the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause are caused by the reducing levels of female hormones, particularly oestrogen. By taking HRT it is really only delaying the inevitable. If HRT is stopped suddenly, particularly without any other support being offered, the body once again has to go through the withdrawal process, producing the original symptoms.

It is the adrenal glands that produce oestrogen after menopause therefore it is important to improve adrenal function prior to starting to reduce the dose of HRT. When we consider this function of the adrenals it is hardly surprising that so many women experience symptoms during the perimenopausal and postmenopausal time. The number one factor that depletes the adrenals is stress, particularly over a long period of time.

There is a very fundamental difference between HRT and herbal medicine for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. It needs to be remembered that menopause is not a disease process but a natural occurrence in the life of all women who reach a certain age. Herbal medicines provide the support for the body to do what it should naturally be doing. That is, produce hormones in the adrenal glands. HRT does just the opposite. By putting hormones into the body you actually shut down this natural process in the body.

There are a number of herbal medicines and nutritional factors that quickly improve adrenal function so that the body can increase the natural production of female sex hormones. Depending on the continued level of stress, we will often prescribe herbs that help the body deal with stress and generally tonify the nervous system, which further takes the load off the adrenals.

Once adrenal function has improved the dose of HRT can gradually be reduced until it is no longer required. What this means is that we have restored the body to a natural state of health.

During this process we also use herbal medicines that are specific for any symptoms that may arise during the weaning off period. Where necessary we support the nervous system because stress is a major cause of adrenal depletion.

So, you can see, it is easy to come off HRT if desired. All you need to do is take it slowly and use the appropriate herbs and nutrients for each stage of the process.

If you are using HRT and are not sure if you wish to continue, why not give us a call.

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Breast Cancer Rates Have Declined

by Berris Burgoyne – Naturopath – www.berrisnaturopath.com
Suite 8/1177 Logan Road, Holland Park, Brisbane 4121

Breast cancer rates have declined significantly
Research presented at the 29th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium showed a significant drop in the incidence of breast cancer in 2003 – a dramatic fall that never before has been observed in a single year. In women aged 50-69 years of age there was a 12% decline in oestrogen dependent cancers and a 4% decrease in non-oestrogen dependent cancers. It appears that the decreased use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be responsible, at least in the case of oestrogen dependent breast cancers.

Another research team reporting in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology came to similar conclusions, “Hormone therapy use dropped by 68% between 2001 and 2003, and shortly thereafter we saw breast cancer rates drop by 10% to 11% and this drop was sustained in 2004, which tells us that the decline wasn’t just a fluke”.

Why did the use of HRT decline?
The use of HRT declined significantly after the results of two long-term studies were published in 1998 and 2002. The most significant of these was the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study which involved almost 162,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 years. The role of the WHI is to focus on defining the risks and benefits of treatments that could potentially reduce the incidence of heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer, and fractures in postmenopausal women.

The duration of the study was planned for 8.5 years and included assessing the benefits and risks of women using either combined HRT (oestrogen/progestin) or oestrogen alone. However, after just 5.2 years, in mid 2002 an independent monitoring board recommended stopping the combined HRT trial because they considered the risks to health of taking combined HRT outweighed any benefits.

There were a number of negative outcomes resulting from this trial and although some of the risks are relatively small, they do exist.

The bad news –
• Increased risk of breast cancer
• Increased risk of ovarian cancer
• Increased risk of heart disease
• Increased risk of stroke

• Increased risk of blood clots/deep vain thrombosis (DVT)
• Increased risk of pulmonary (lungs) embolism
• Increased risk of dementia
• Possible increased risk of cognitive decline
• Increased risk of urinary incontinence

In relation to breast cancer the WHI trial found that relatively short-term combined oestrogen/progestin use increased breast cancers, which were diagnosed at a more advanced stage compared with placebo use.

The good news –
• Decreased risk of fracture (osteoporosis)
• Decreased risk of bowel cancer

Despite the early termination of the WHI oestrogen plus progestin trial, the oestrogen-alone trial was continued with ongoing careful scrutiny by the monitoring board. However, in February 2004 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) decided to terminate the oestrogen-alone trial after 6.8 years, rather than allowing it to run the full 8.5 years. They determined that oestrogen therapy did not offer significant benefits compared with the possible risks.

As with combined HRT, oestrogen alone therapy also reduced the risk of fracture although it did not have the same protective effect against bowel cancer that combined HRT appeared to offer.

So, what does this mean for you?
There are a number of different reasons why women either choose to take HRT or are prescribed HRT by their doctor. Each individual woman has to decide, with the help of a health care professional, how important the use of HRT is for her.

HRT has been traditionally prescribed not only to alleviate the symptoms of menopause but also to protect against conditions such as heart disease, dementia and osteoporosis. We now understand from extensive clinical trials that HRT does not carry the protective effect previously assumed for heart disease and dementia. In fact, the use of HRT (particularly combined HRT) increased the risk of these conditions.

For some women however, HRT may be important to help prevent or reduce the occurrence of osteoporosis. This is particularly the case where there is a strong family history of the disease and the woman has a significant number of risk factors. For example, slight build, therefore less bone mass; little weight bearing exercise; sedentary life style; diet high in salt and caffeine, (which leach calcium from the body); history of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia; and drugs such as corticosteroids.

Are there effective alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms?
The answer is a very big YES. In most cases menopausal symptoms are extremely easy to treat with natural therapies and women have a significant improvement in a relatively short period of time. The type of treatment used depends on the individual woman, her lifestyle and the symptoms experienced.

Is it possible to stop HRT?
Yes it is definitely possible to stop taking HRT, however it is not a good idea to do so suddenly. We have had a lot of experience at helping women wean off HRT and the best way is to do so gradually. However, before making the decision to stop HRT, it is important to consider the reason that HRT was initially prescribed and how relevant it is to your long-term health and wellbeing.

It is important to understand that the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause are caused by the reducing levels of female hormones, particularly oestrogen. By taking HRT it is really only delaying the inevitable. If HRT is stopped suddenly, particularly without any other support being offered, the body once again has to go through the withdrawal process, producing the original symptoms.

It is the adrenal glands that produce oestrogen after menopause therefore it is important to improve adrenal function prior to starting to reduce the dose of HRT. When we consider this function of the adrenals it is hardly surprising that so many women experience symptoms during the perimenopausal and postmenopausal time. The number one factor that depletes the adrenals is stress, particularly over a long period of time.

There is a very fundamental difference between HRT and herbal medicine for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. It needs to be remembered that menopause is not a disease process but a natural occurrence in the life of all women who reach a certain age. Herbal medicines provide the support for the body to do what it should naturally be doing. That is, produce hormones in the adrenal glands. HRT does just the opposite. By putting hormones into the body you actually shut down this natural process in the body.

There are a number of herbal medicines and nutritional factors that quickly improve adrenal function so that the body can increase the natural production of female sex hormones. Depending on the continued level of stress, we will often prescribe herbs that help the body deal with stress and generally tonify the nervous system, which further takes the load off the adrenals.

Once adrenal function has improved the dose of HRT can gradually be reduced until it is no longer required. What this means is that we have restored the body to a natural state of health.

During this process we also use herbal medicines that are specific for any symptoms that may arise during the weaning off period. Where necessary we support the nervous system because stress is a major cause of adrenal depletion.

So, you can see, it is easy to come off HRT if desired. All you need to do is take it slowly and use the appropriate herbs and nutrients for each stage of the process.

If you are using HRT and are not sure if you wish to continue, why not give us a call.

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